ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --Could you put on a gas mask, bibs, a heavy jacket, rubber boots and gloves in eight minutes or less? What if it meant life or death?
Members of the armed forces must be able to don all of their protective gear in eight minutes in case of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attack.
More than 100 members of Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma trained to do exactly that and more during an Ability to Survive and Operate exercise or ATSO Rodeo, Jan.10.
“ATSO stands for ability to survive and operate in deployed locations,” said 2nd Lt. Carly Wills, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management flight commander. “The ATSO Rodeo incorporates self-aid buddy care and chemical warfare defense with gas mask and weapons skills training.”
Members of the 97th CES emergency management flight, 97th Medical Group and 97th Security Forces Squadron combat arms, prepared Airmen for potential dangers in a deployed environment.
Some of the subjects Airmen were taught were properly donning and removing Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear, tarping equipment during a CBRN hazard and testing the environment for any possible CBRN dangers.
Medical personnel instructed on topics such as using a medical stretchers and using the supplies found in an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK).
Combat arms instructors taught dismantling and reassembly of the M4 carbine as well as weapons safety.
“This training is important for when Airmen go downrange, so they know what to do if they go up against something that is not day-to-day; whether it is chemical warfare or the person next to them gets shot,” said Wills.
The 97th CES emergency management flight plans on holding more ATSO Rodeos at end of January and throughout February.
“It’s really important that we get opportunities like this,” said Airman 1st Class Alexander Powell, 97th Contracting Flight contracting specialist. “In my career field we don’t often see the medical, CBRN and weapons side of things. For us to be efficient in those areas, the ATSO Rodeo is needed. You can never plan for an emergency if you are not training.”